Tag Archives: nerds

Le Geek, C’est Chic?

Trends are funny things.  When I started high school, for example,  wearing flannel shirts was a sign that you were a) a farmer’s kid, or b) poor enough to be eligible for free lunch.  By the time I graduated, however, grunge music and its attendant fashion codes had become nationwide phenomena; consequently, if you weren’t swathed in flannel on a regular basis, there was simply no help for you, as you were the epitome of “uncool.”

Flash-forward twenty years and another strange switch-up in trends appears to be afoot:  geek chic.  I’m not sure if society has become more tolerant of differences, or if folks just enjoy watching The Big Bang Theory, but these days it really is hip to be squareGamers, computer buffs, and SCA members rejoice:  your day has finally come.

I confess, I’m a little ambivalent about that.  I know I like what I like because I like it, not because it earns me any kind of “points” or “street cred.”  However, I’m also leery of the notion that things are only worth liking if a small, select group of people enjoys them.  In that spirit, therefore, here are a few geek culture samples from the library’s catalog that everyone is welcome to try on for size.

GeekDadGeek Dad, Ken Denmead.  A popular Wired.com blogger shares a staggering array of fun projects geeky dads can share with their kids.  This former tomboy finds the “boys only” vibe a little uncomfortable, but the projects here — which range from comic strips to space ships to night kites — are so diverse and interesting, it would definitely be worth sharing them with children and adults of all ages and inclinations.

Theater Geek, Mickey Rapkin.  CAPA kids, stage parents and Glee / Fame fans might enjoy this behind-the-scenes peek at one of America’s most prominent theater camps.  Focused, reverent, and extremely serious about the gravitas of “making it” at Stagedoor, Rapkin’s memoir is sure to appeal to those who eat, sleep and breathe drama.

Suck It, Wonder Woman!, Olivia Munn.  The darling of both G4TV and WonderWomanThe Daily Show, Munn offers up geeky-comedic chops in this collection of essays.  From safe sex to robot invasions, nothing escapes Munn’s off-the-cuff observations, and her stories of what it’s like to not quite fit in will resonate with many a person who has occupied that difficult space.  Mostly for current fans, but with potential to attract new ones, Suck It occasionally bites, but doesn’t, er, suck.

Dungeons_and_Dreamers

Dungeons and Dreamers, Brad King and John Borland.  Meet the men and women of computer gaming in this inclusive biography of a digital era.  You’ll meet — or reconnect with — notable names in gaming history like Richard Carriott,  John Carmack, and Richard Bartle, and learn how Vangie Beal created the first organized women’s gaming network.  Designed to appeal to both those who remember their first MUD as well as those who have no idea what the heck a LAN is, this book is a neat snapshot of a phenomenon that continues to evolve and fascinate a significant chunk of every generation.

I put it to you, constant reader:  are you now, or have you ever been, a geek?  A nerd, maybe?  Do you have fandoms, and if so, what are they?

–Leigh Anne
who fails her sanity rolls on a regular basis, but always knows where her towel is.

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If Google Vanished

Hypothetical speculation is a fun sport most people like to indulge in from time to time.  Some of us, for example, like to argue about who would win in a fight between a grizzly bear and a wolverine (or, Wolverine, or The Wolverine Brigade).  Others debate the comparative greatness of various sports heroes, dead presidents, or Mexican artists.  The only limits to the game are your creativity and imagination.

Library workers, being a special kind of nerdy, often consider scenarios like this one:

Google buys every major search tool and is then shut down as a monopoly, and in the same week Wikipedia goes bankrupt. Choose three freely available websites as the best starting points for the widest possible range of inquiries.

–Joseph Janes in I’m Sorry, You’re Out

Never ones to resist a challenge,  your crack team of information mavens here at Main Library pondered the question, then came up with the following list of web resources we would use to help answer your questions, in the event of Googlepedia apocalypse.

About.com
Short introductions to every topic under the sun.

Allmusic
An all-purpose music, movies and gaming portal.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Research Databases
Free to you, because we paid for it!

Delicious
A searchable collection of popular links people like you found useful.

Encyclopedia Britannica
A notable name in encyclopedias opens up its treasury of goodness.

The Internet Movie Database
Titles, actors, roles and more, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Instructables
Visual and verbal guides for doing and making just about anything.

IPL2
The Internet Public Library married The Librarians’ Index to the Internet! This is their baby.

Medline Plus
The National Library of Medicine tackles all your health dilemmas.

The QuestionPoint Ready Reference Wiki
Jam-packed with useful links, assembled by librarians.

Refdesk.com
A useful, diverse, all-purpose search portal.

Reference.com
Dictionaries, thesauri, quotations, and a translator. Mighty!

TV Tropes
Specialized wiki for TV themes and concepts.

USA.gov
An excellent starting point for credible info on U.S. Government services.

WorldCat
Find books in libraries all over the world, or close to home.

Most of the sites mentioned here can already be found via the library’s Ready Reference Links Page, so feel free to bookmark it, or save it as a “favorite” in your browser — it contains a number of other neat and useful sources, too, like Weather Underground and GetHuman.

When do Google and Wikipedia work for you?  Where do they fall short?  What are your favorite free web resources?  Nerdy information herders want to know!

–Leigh Anne

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